Phone apps help minimize distracted driving

More than 400,000 people were injured in car accidents in 2012 because of it. But there are apps that can keep everyone safer
January 31, 2014 8:22:49 PM PST
The latest figures show more than 400,000 people were injured in car accidents in 2012 because their phones distracted them. But there are apps you can download onto your phone, and your teens', to keep everyone safer.

Amanda Kloehr was nearly killed in a horrific car accident because she was distracted. Kloehr says she often used her phone to text and talk while driving and wants to warn people how damaging it can be.

"I was in the hospital for two months straight, and then when they finally discharged me, I was still in and out of surgery for literally over two years after I got out. It's changed my life forever. I have pain every single day. It's not something that will ever go away," she said.

Now Kloehr keeps her phone in the back seat, far from reach while she's driving.

A new test conducted by investigators at Consumer Reports tested out free apps for Android phones that inactivate most of your phone while you're driving.

There's Sprint's "Drive First," "Safely Go" from Verizon, and AT&T's "DriveMode."

All three blocked the texts as promised and sent back an automatic reply, which you can customize. And they each can limit incoming calls to a short list. With the Verizon app, you turn it on each time you're about to drive. The others go on automatically, which is an advantage.

"So once you're going a certain speed, AT&T it's 25 miles per hour and Sprint is 10 miles per hour, you don't have to think about it," Consumer Reports' Liza Barth said.

And Sprint also offers a website where parents can monitor what their teen is doing with their phone while driving. Testers say all three apps work well and might have prevented an accident like Amanda's.

Now if you're an iPhone user, you can go to your settings and select "Do Not Disturb" before you get behind the wheel. This option won't send any automatic responses, but it will silence all text message notification and phone calls so you won't be distracted.

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